Commander Air Mobility Command Visits Bangor Base 

With only another month of official orders, the men and women of the 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor have been left wondering about their future. About 20 air men and women are likely to lose their work assignments by the end of the month.At the request of Maine’s Senators, the Commander of the Air Mobility Command came to town Thursday to visit the base so Air Guard officials could plead their case.Meghan Hayward reports.General Raymond Johns came to the Bangor base on an assessment mission, to determine if the Air Bridge Program should be taken off the budget chopping block.”So the fact that we have this wonderful support from the Congressional and the leadership of the State is marvelous. And now we have a chance to go thank our airmen and let them know how appreciative we are for what they do.”He was given a tour of the facility, then briefed on the work being done there.”It helped for him to see the briefing and to talk to the leadership and the men and women that are making that possible. He is however under terrible budget pressures.”The proposed cuts have had the 145 air men and women worried about their jobs.Governor Baldacci says they’ve agreed on an extension until September of next year, pending Congressional budget approval.But, he says about 20 air men and women will lose their orders, possibly by the end of the month.”So from this point to that point they’re going to be going through analyzing, scrubbing, find efficiencies in trying to recognize that they’re going to be looking for a surge to come down and as they go out to September of 2011 they’re going to transition to a workforce that would be representative of a reduced surge.”Senator Susan Collins says the work being done in Bangor can’t be stopped.”Refueling cargo planes that are carrying essential materials to our troops on the frontline.”Collins says General Johns was impressed with the work being done at the Bangor base.”You’re very, very good at what you do. And the facts show that, the statistics show that. When you look at how much fuel this base offloads per person, it beats all the other bases Active Duty or Guard.”Collins says the current Defense Appropriations Bill before the Senate includes 378 million dollars for the Air Force, with a portion going to the Air Mobility Command to help sustain the employment levels.She says the senate is working with the House to include additional funding in their version of the bill too.